OPCAT Annual Report Released

OPCAT Annual Report Released

December 9, 2014

On 9 December 1988 the United Nations General Assembly approved the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment which states that ‘All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be treated in a humane manner and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person’ (Principle 1).

To highlight the significance of this and other international instruments promoting and protecting the human rights of people in detention New Zealand’s National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) has today released its annual report.

A copy of the OPCAT Annual Report can be downloaded here:

National Preventive Mechanism (NPM)

The NPM was established in 2007 under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) to prevent torture and ill-treatment in places of detention.

This year’s report reveals concerns and highlights improvements identified during individual NPMs’ on-going monitoring visits of detention facilities.

These visits covered police custodial facilities, youth justice residences, care and protection units for children, prisons, health and disability places of detention, and detention facilities of the New Zealand Defence Force.

The NPM identified many issues, which have implications for a number of places of detention. In particular, policies and practices that affect the dignity of detainees are of concern as is the practice of seclusion and secure care in detention facilities.

The NPM recommends that the mandate of monitoring is reviewed to possibly include locked aged care facilities, dementia units, compulsory care facilities, community-based homes, and residences for disabled persons, as well as boarding schools and other situations where children and young people are placed under temporary state care or supervision.

Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT)

Last April/May the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) visited New Zealand for the first time and inspected several places of detention.

The Subcommittee’s report has a range of recommendations to government on issues that have also been raised the NPM.

The SPT’s report provides a clear framework for implementing and monitoring progressive improvements. A brief overview of issues is contained in the annual report.

The SPT report can be found here. The Government’s response can be found here.

Further Information

You can view our OPCAT info sheet here: HRC OPCAT A4 Sheet

If you would like to know more, please contact:

Henning Borchers, Research, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer

Phone: (03) 353 0953   Email: henningb@hrc.co.nz

Human Rights Commission

The Commission works for a free, fair, safe and just New Zealand, where diversity is valued and human dignity and rights are respected.

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